Raving: What’s it all about?
November saw a triumphant ode to the rave scene at Amplify, bringing with it a string of esteemed events to add to our little black book of music. From London’s MTV EMA after party to Spotify’s Who We Be hip-hop and grime rave; we celebrated rave culture with two of the biggest brands in music.
But what makes jumping ferociously to Man’s Not Hot with 10,000 other people at Ally Pally more appealing than plugging in your headphones? To get under the skin of it all, we checked in with Dr Beate Peter, an academic who specialises in the impact of dance, popular music and related cultures, to discover more about the psychology of raving, through her late night session: LDN Talks.
A matter of the mind
Dr Peter starts by giving a brief insight into her early life, and it comes as no surprise that this German born academic who studied in Berlin and now lectures at Manchester Metropolitan University, is an expert in club culture as well as the unconscious mind.
The need to release ones inhibitions is inherent. “Do you ever feel like you have to go out?”, says Dr Peter, “because I do”.
From painting, running, meditating and of course, raving, people choose to let go in different ways. According to Dr Peter, dancing at raves liberates and unites the body and the soul, two entities that are often perceived as separate in Western Culture.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, choosing a live rave over its digital counterpart could take you on a spiritual experience that leads to a much more discovered sense of self.
Dr Peter draws on Carl Gustav Jung’s notion of the collective unconscious, a part of the human mind that contains memories and impulses, unaware to the individual that possesses them. Sometimes referred to as the psyche, this segment of the mind is not shaped by personal experience but is genetically inherited, like instincts of life and death.
Physically experiencing and dancing at a rave gives people access to their collective unconscious, and provides an opportunity to explore this part of their identity through the physical body.
“I don’t care who I’m with or where I am, sometimes I just have to dance”, Dr Peter says.
Pon de Club
And in today’s day and age, a good ol’ rave up isn’t always confined to traditional underground clubs. Now, you can get your next party fix pretty much anywhere including crazed gym classes complete with glow sticks to morning raves at The Shard. It seems the physical rave and the experience it induces, has opened up to a wider spread audience, appealing to people of all walks of life – the health conscious included.
Top 6 December raves
- Floating Points: Five Miles – A rave for the greater good, all ticket sales go to the homeless charity; Shelter
- The Black Madonna: York Hall + After Party - With love for the daytime rave, the Kentucky-born producer and DJ will spin the decks from 2pm, don’t miss the official after party at Savage Disco.
- Derrick Carter: Phonox – Celebrate NYE eve with the best in Chicago soulful house
- Krankbrother: Bloc – See the new year in with 8 of the biggest acts in house and disco
- HAAi: Phonox – Taking it back to Brixton for NYE, resident DJ Haai will weave an eclectic selection of music spanning house, disco and rarities from around the world
- Ben Klock: E1 London - Another NYE corker at new cutting edge late night venue, showcasing the best in established and emerging talent
So, we know the rave scene is nothing new. But looking deeper into the psychology of why people do it, we can see that raving provides benefits that go beyond frivolous fun.
In Dr Peter’s words, music facilitates a kind of dance-discovery, and experiencing a live rave in a venue as big as Alexandra Palace as opposed to listening to music through a stereo, can build a wider culture and community. Brands like Spotify, who have taken a virtual playlist, and created a physical experience from it, are getting it right. We are in the age of brand experience, and raving remains one of the most rewarding activities that can join the dots between people, brands and culture.
For more insights into youth culture, check out our series Young Blood